Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths across the country has been decreasing ever so slightly, according to The Washington Post. But the increase in 2010 shows that pedestrian accidents remain a stubborn constant, even as the overall number of traffic fatalities has continued to decrease.In 2010, there were approximately 32,890 traffic accident fatalities in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 15 percent of these fatalities, or about 4,500 traffic deaths, were of pedestrians.

That means that a pedestrian was killed in the U. . every two hours and another was injured every eight minutes.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand the risks. Unfortunately, many of the streets in the area are designed solely for fast-moving traffic. Pedestrians have to fend for themselves along these roadways. While most fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night, we’re asking all drivers to be on the lookout for walkers at all hours of the day.

The accidents were also most likely to happen when weather conditions were clear. Let’s be honest. There aren’t typically a lot of people strolling the streets when it’s raining or snowing out. That means the fall tourism season in Maine will be among the riskiest time of the year for these types of accidents.

Alcohol was also a common factor in many of these accidents. A driver under the influence accounted for about 15 percent of these fatalities and a walker under the influence was involved in about 35 percent of these fatalities.

More than 50 percent of the 47,000 pedestrians who were killed from 2000 to 2009 were killed along principal or minor arterials. These are the straight, wide roads that are extremely hostile to pedestrians, according to Transportation For America.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is here to offer some safety tips to pedestrians to stay safe out there.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Never assume that a motorist sees you. Many times, fatal pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers simply not seeing pedestrians along our roadways.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing and reflective materials when watching at night.

-Stay out of a driver’s blind spot.

-Never let kids walk by the streets alone.

-Always cross at a crosswalk.

-Make sure that you have enough time to cross the street. If you feel like there’s any chance you’ll have to rush, sit back and wait. There’s no hurry to get across the road. Wait for a sizable gap in traffic, or for the traffic light, before attempting to cross.

-Before crossing, stop, look left, look right, and look left again and then cross.

-Walk in a predictable manner.

-At traffic lights, you always want to wait for the white WALK sign before crossing.

-Plan your walking routes to include safe intersections and large sidewalks.

-Use more that your eyes. Listen to passing traffic to increase your awareness of your surroundings.

-Avoid walking with distractions. Keep the headphones off and the phones away. You want to be able to react to any and all road hazards on the drop of a dime.

-Walk defensively. Don’t assume that motorists know that by law, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Many of them don’t.

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As all of the zombies, ghosts, goblins and mummies head out for some neighborhood trick-or-treating adventures, there’s another scary monster lurking in the dark — child injury in Portland, Maine. It’s true. Halloween is one of the most dangerous times for children to be out and about. Their risks for a pedestrian accident are higher during this time that during any other time of the year.Don’t worry. The South Portland Police Department and our Bangor, Maine, personal injury attorneys are here to share some tips for parents and little monsters to remember while celebrating Halloween.

Parents who are supervising young trick-or-treaters and those who are able to roam the neighborhood alone should always plan their trip before heading door to door. Everyone should plan a route that is safe — one that isn’t along any major roadways, has sidewalks or safe shoulders, is well lighted and has safe crossing areas. Trick-or-treaters of all ages should have a curfew. The later it gets, the more dangers and risks we face for a pedestrian-car accident.

Tips to avoid a pedestrian accident this Halloween:

-Try to you make yourself and your little trick-or-treaters as visible to motorists as possible. You should wear reflective tape on your costume or carry a flashlight.

-Look left and right before and during your trip across a road. Although drivers should be on their best driving behavior, you must take it upon yourself to walk cautiously.

-Never trick-or-treat alone.

-Never go into a stranger’s house or car.

-Suit your child in comfortable shoes and make sure that all costumes are short enough to prevent a trip and fall hazard.

-Do not trick-or-treat at houses with no lights on.

Candy rules:

-Never allow children to snack on candy as their trick-or-treating. Make sure they eat dinner before heading out so they’re less tempted to snack.

-Examine all candy as soon as you get home. Make sure none of the candy has been opened or tampered with. If you see a piece in question, throw it away.

-Consider handing out non-food items like spider rings, bubbles, toothbrushes, etc.

Halloween at home:

-Make sure that all trip hazards are cleared from driveways, sidewalks and front porches.

-Be sure to wipe up any wet surfaces so that trick-or-treaters are less likely to slip and fall.

-Be sure that all lights are on and working proper outside the front of your house.

-Never leave a lighted pumpkin unattended.

We can all have a safe and fun Halloween if we follow these few safety rules. Motorists are urged as always to be cautious in residential areas, especially during dusk on the 31st. Be sure to keep a lookout for monsters on the roadway to prevent a scary car accident. Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!

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The International Walk to School Day started back in 1997 and since then millions of people across the globe have come together to help reduce the risks of pedestrian accidents in Maine and elsewhere each October. In 2002, the largest number of participants was recorded at approximately 3 million for the event.There are many reasons to participate in this year’s events. Walking promotes a healthy lifestyle, it helps to reduce the amount of pollutants let off by motor vehicles and it helps to raise awareness about the need for more accessible sidewalks, pathways and safer intersections.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand that pedestrian safety has been a frequent topic of conversation among safety advocates. Back in 2005, legislation was passed to help everyone understand the importance of safe pedestrian travel. Through this legislation and through the Safe Routes to School program, federal funding is distributed to states for safe traveling programs and for the construction of safer roadways. However, none of the contributions mean anything without the cooperation of motorists and pedestrians across the nation. This event helps to gain the cooperation from individuals across the state.

Schools that are participating in this year’s event include:

-Hichborn Middle School

-Troy Central Elementary School

-Monroe Elementary School

-Morse Memorial Elementary School

-Walker Elementary School

-Mt. View Elementary School

-Mt. View Middle School

-My. View High School

-Madison Elementary School

-Atwood Primary School

-Blue Point School

-Brown Elementary School

-RSU 3

-Mount Desert Elementary School

-Mahoney Middle School

Each school is participating in different ways. Some schools are hosting mile long walks/runs during school hours. Others are dropping school bus riders off a mile away from school and having everyone walk to school together. Others have simply applied for some of the federal funding so that students can have safe ways to make it to school.

Approximately 11,500 schools across the county have already received federal funding to help create safer routes to school. Maine is hoping to receive some of this funding during the 2011 campaign. Safe sidewalks and crosswalks could be constructed at a number of our local roadways to help keep our school-aged pedestrians safe. The truth of the matter is that far too little funding is spent on pedestrian safety.

“Enabling and encouraging safe walking and biking to school is important for transportation, health, and safety in communities throughout the State,” said Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner David Cole.

The MaineDOTsencourages you join this year’s events to:

-Help to reduce traffic congestion and speed limits near schools and in school zones.

-Help to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing vehicular traffic.

-To help to improve classroom performance and behavior.

-To improve socials networks amongst students and to increase the bond between students and teachers.

-To teach children safe pedestrian and bicycling behavior and habits.

-To help build students’ self-confidence and independence.

-To help reclaim the streets for safer walking and biking instead of for speedy vehicularstraffic.

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As we work our way out of the harsh winter, we look forward to Spring and the warm weather activities that we enjoy. As we move the clocks forward this weekend, our days will begin to get longer. As the weather gets warmer, we are bound to see more bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadways. And, of course, summer tourist season is just around the corner.

Our Maine personal injury lawyers want to remind motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists because it only takes a split second of distraction to find yourself involved in a crash. Negligent drivers can cause serious injuries to victims in Bangor bicycle accidents and bicycle and pedestrian crashes elsewhere in the state.The U. . Department of Transportation recently published the 2009 data on bicycle accidents. In 2009, there were a total of 630 cyclists killed nationwide, and another 51,000 injured. Cyclists accounted for approximately 2% of all traffic injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle crashes for 2009. The highest percentage of cycling fatalities occurred in urban areas (70%), non-intersections (67%), and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (29%).

The average age of cyclists killed in 2009 was 39. However, bicyclists under age 16 accounted for 13% of cycling fatalities and 20% of those injured in 2009 motor vehicle crashes.

The good news is Maine reported no fatalities for cyclists in 2009. The bad news, cycling accidents are unpredictable and can occur at any time so motorists need to be on guard at all times. One way to reduce the risk of a bike accident is to not allow yourself to get distracted behind the wheel. Cyclists are often hard to spot or come from nowhere so getting distracted increases the chances of an accident dramatically.

The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety urges cyclists to wear a helmet. It is a state law that anyone under age 16 is required to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Failure to wear a helmet increases the severity of the possible head and spinal cord injuries that can occur. It is reported that most fatalities related to bicycle accidents are from head injuries. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85% in most cases.

The Bureau of Highway Safety offers the following tips when fitting a helmet to purchase:

-Purchase a helmet made specifically for cycling. It must be approved by ASTM, CSA or Snell.

-The best way to measure comfort is to try on several helmets. Helmets are padded differently so some may be more comfortable and fit better than others.

-The helmet must cover the forehead and the chin strap should be adjustable so that it fits tight enough to keep your helmet from moving on your head.

-A light-colored helmet stands out better and is easier to spot than a dark-colored helmet.

-Your helmet should not move in any direction on your head. Movement from side-to-side or back-to front will not provide the proper safety if an accident occurs.

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On November 9 and 10th, the National Transportation Safety Board hosted a forum to discuss issues relating to highway safety and our aging population. A webcast is archived on the N.T. .B website.

An interview with Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the N.T. .B., was published on November 17th, 2010 in The New York Times blog “The New Old Age”, (see full article here). The forum revealed that recent statistics have surprised researchers. For example, while the number of fatalities has dropped across the board, drivers over 70 have had an even higher drop in the rate of fatal crashes. People are living longer and are also healthier as they age. Ms. Hersman concludes that age alone is not a sufficient factor for determining continuing eligibility to drive, but that states need to consider alternatives such as additional testing or shortened periods before renewal of a license.

Maine considers a driver elderly when he or she is over 65 years of age. The DOT has published resources to assist residents who are dealing with the issue of aging and driving on their website.

A recent post to this blog was about a tragic accident which killed two teenage girls. Such news makes one consider teen and inexperienced drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more teens are killed every year by car accidents than by any other cause. In Maine, the statistics are equally disturbing. According to the Secretary of State,

“•Nearly one young driver is killed each week in Maine;

•More than 60 young drivers are injured each week in Maine;

In Maine, there is a potential intersection of the workers’ compensation and personal injury systems when the injury is caused by a third party.

Generally, if you are injured at work, regardless of the cause, you are compensated for that injury entirely through the workers’ compensation system. However, did you know that if a party other than your employer is responsible for the injury, you may also have a separate claim against that party?

For example, if you were driving a vehicle as part of your job and were injured in an accident caused by another driver, you have both a workers’ compensation claim and a claim against the other driver.

INSURANCE ADJUSTERS HAVE THE INTERNET TOO!

Most people at one time or another have heard the advice “Do not put anything in an email or online that you would not want on the front page of the newspaper”. This is never truer than when you are bringing a personal injury claim. The insurance company WILL search for your online profiles. More than once, we have received a call from an adjuster directing us to a client’s online profile.

“So what?” you might be thinking, “I have nothing to hide. Besides, nothing I put on my Facebook or MySpace account has anything to do with my accident.”sThis is almost never true. For example, if you are claiming an injury, and you are writing about all of the things you did over the weekend, that is relevant. If you are posting pictures of your participation in a charity walk, that is relevant. As your attorneys, we know the truth is accident victims have good days and bad days while recovering. It is our job to make that argument on your behalf. However, the insurance adjuster will use this to show that your injuries are not very serious.

What happens if someone else’s negligence behind the wheel causes you injury and they don’t have enough insurance?sIn Maine, every auto insurance policy is required to have several components. In a previous post, we discussed uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, or the coverage that exists when the other party is not insured. The partner component of UM coverage is underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Like with UM coverage, every auto insurance policy in Maine must have a minimum of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident of UIM coverage (See Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 29-A Section 1605 (1)(C)(2) & (3) and Maine Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 24-A Section 2902). This means, if you have insurance, you automatically have this coverage as part of your policy.

UIM coverage is used when someone causes you injury and their insurance policy is not sufficient to cover your damages. For example, although Maine requires $50,000 minimum of insurance, Massachusetts only requires $20,000 minimum. With the rising costs of medical expenses, even a moderate injury can easily use up this amount. This must also cover any lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney’s fees, and all other damages you may have. (The only exception is your vehicle damage, which is usually covered separately.)

So, if you are injured by someone who has $20,000 of insurance and you have $50,000, then there is a total of $70,000 of coverage right?sUnfortunately, no. In Maine, your UIM carrier receives a credit for the amount paid by the insurance company for the at fault driver. Therefore, in this example there is only a total of $50,000 of coverage. $20,000 paid by the at fault driver and $30,000 paid by your UIM carrier. Therefore, if you only have the minimum required insurance coverage of $50,000 of UIM, and someone else with the minimum causes you an injury, there is no additional coverage for your injuries.

Reported by the Bangor Daily News on Septemeber 22, 2010

NEW SHARON — An elderly man was killed Tuesday morning as he crossed Route 134 in front of his house, police said.

Glen Fitch, 87, was killed instantly when he was struck by a pickup truck driven by 43-year-old Walter Fails of New Sharon.

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